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November 10th 2017

Gavin Boyle

The highlight this week was the brilliant day I spent at London Road Community Hospital.  There is such a great welcoming atmosphere there and I’ll tell you all about it in a minute. We started the week with the Derby Hospital Charity Annual General Meeting and this was a real celebration of all the fabulous work the charity does in helping us to provide the extras that make the experience of people using our service so much better, as well as helping support all our people too.  There was also a reminder of some of the fundraising events over the past year and I was particularly impressed by the success of the ‘colour run’ back in the summer.  It was quite an event – a real explosion of colour – and I don’t think anybody escaped without a healthy dash of it.  

It was our public Trust Board meeting this week and as usual we started with our Pride of Derby awards, which recognised some of the amazing individuals and teams that make DTHFT such a special place.  This time around the winners were :

•Best front line member of staff – Dylan Griffin – an Advanced Clinical Practitioner in ED – a young patient had written in to describe how her treatment for a ‘self-harm’ injury was managed with such compassion and understanding by this member of the team.

•Best behind the scenes – Julie Wheatley and Anna Skalbania picked up the prize having been nominated by an overseas colleague who they’ve supported so well, since he relocated to the UK to join the team here.

•Best inspirational leader – Vicki Hill – the sister on Ward 315 – she was nominated by her team for this award.

•Best team – the IT Lorenzo Team – these colleagues worked so hard back in the summer to support the implementation of a new computer system in one of our most pressured areas.  The ED team particularly praised how well they’d felt supported by them. 

And talking of ED, we also had a special award this time from John Rivers, our Chair, and myself, for the Emergency Department. The Pride of Derby Award followed their recognition as Team of the Year by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine a couple of weeks ago.  

At the Board, we also had a focus on reducing patient falls and were pleased to see the progress being made and an update from the Rehabilitation Service on some of the exciting developments there.  As usual, we covered all aspects of the business and one area that we often focus on is infection control. For example, so far this year, we’ve seen more cases of C.diff than we’d expected.  Over many years, we’ve driven down this particular hospital acquired infection but earlier in the year a disruption in the international supply of a particular antibiotic that is helpful in treating infection without allowing the C.diff bacteria to take hold was in very short supply.  Thankfully, this has been restored and we've been able to resort to our previous antibiotic prescribing policy.  However, we’ve also taken the opportunity to refocus all of our efforts on ward cleanliness. We do this particularly by encouraging our people to make sure that they use soap and water, which is most effective against this particular bug.  

We also had an update on our battle against sepsis. This systemic infection is one of the biggest causes of avoidable death within heath systems globally.  It was good to hear that the Trust is now comfortably exceeding the new national standards for screening vulnerable patients and that our mortality rates for sepsis are just over 28% better than the national average.  Well done to all involved!

So, back to London Road.  I started my day with Graham Bragg, one of our Non-Executive Directors, and Anne Johnson, one of our Governors, as we visited the Breast Screening Unit.  We were well looked after by Elaine and the two Sarah’s and they told us all about the unit, its work and some of its challenges too.  I was hugely impressed by the warm and friendly spirit within the department and particularly how welcoming and supportive they were of the women attending for their scans.  Everything seemed incredibly well organised and neat and tidy too.  They mentioned that they’re also working with colleagues in Burton following the creation of an integrated Breast Screening and Surgical Service early in the year.  It was a bit of a taster of things to come as we think about our merger planned for next year.  I then met up with Zoe, Senior Occupational Therapist at LRCH and her team, who were celebrating Occupational Therapy week.  It was a pleasure to meet Lucy, a student OT, who was very enthusiastic about the importance of this particular branch of therapy in helping patients get back to a normal life following a stay in hospital.  Sam, one of the OT assistants, told me a great story about a patient who she had looked after recently who was anxious about his stay in hospital but ultimately had an extremely good experience.  

It was then on to our Dermatology Department, where I was greeted by Grace Pearn, Deputy General Manager Dermatology, Diabetes, Rheumatology and MDCU, Liz Ryalls, General Manger, Specialist Medicine Business Unit, and two of our specialist nurses, Emily and Bev.  It was a good opportunity to take stock of the building work in Dermatology as we seek to expand the number of treatment rooms to support this growing service.  We’re very proud of our Dermatology Service here at DTHFT. Many hospitals up and down the land are struggling to recruit and maintain their service, whereas here it’s something we’re keen to grow.  And then finally was a visit with Tracy Selsby-Orlandi and the marvellous Occupational Health Team also based at London Road Hospital.  They gave me a brilliant overview of all of the services that they deliver, particularly the work they’re doing to promote the health and well-being of all staff and not solely responding to support individuals who’ve developed health issues.  Their enthusiasm was infectious, however I just managed to escape before they gave me a full health check-up – they seemed almost too keen! 

So all in all, it’s been another busy week but with lots of good things happening. I never cease to be impressed by the many examples our teams have taken the initiative to make our services better.

Have a great weekend.  


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